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Dwight Schrute Finds Red Wire

Today marks one year since I began working from home during this pandemic. It’s been an interesting experience to say the least – one that I am hoping will soon come to an end assuming vaccinations allow all of us to safely return to the office for good sooner rather than later.

Over the last calendar year, I have been back to the office for short visits on only four occasions. With the nature of my work, I can complete it from anywhere I have a computer and an Internet connection, which means I’ve have had few reasons to return to since. With my visits so infrequent, each time I’ve visited has been a surreal experience. Ironically, one of those visits happened to be yesterday, the one year anniversary of when we were sent home. The timing was a mere coincidence.

While there, I used the opportunity to take care of a few tasks at my desk. As I was getting ready to leave for the day, I noticed a foreign Logitech object in my computer’s USB slot that I didn’t remember being there previously (more than a year ago, mind you). Being somewhat in a hurry to leave, I half-hardheadedly assumed it might have been an incredibly tiny flash drive leftover from a year ago that I had forgotten about. It seemed plausible since that last full day at the office was filled with a surplus of anxiety and other unknowns, but I wasn’t entirely sure.

Mystery Logitech USB Receiver

A mysterious USB device I found in my work computer. I don't remember that being there previously.

While wondering where this device came from and why, I thought of a scene from “The Office” where Dwight discovers a mystery red wire plugged into the back of his computer.

I absentmindedly removed the device from the USB slot and placed it aside figuring I’d examine it further the next time I return – whenever that might be. It just so happened at that moment that my phone rang, a work call that would occupy the next several minutes of my time.

After hanging up, I went to lock my computer only to find that my wireless mouse had stopped working. My immediate thought was that the battery had gone out, despite the fact that an entire year had gone by with no use. After replacing the battery, my mouse still wasn’t working.

After thinking about it for a few seconds, I began to wonder if that mystery USB device had something to do with it. I already have a separate receiver for both my mouse and keyword, so where did this separate USB receiver come from? Having moved work spaces on a few occasions, I’ve taken apart and put together my work computer equipment several times so I should be well aware of all the various pieces of tech assembled there. I plugged that tiny device back into the USB slot and my mouse began to work again. So that mini device was not a flash drive, it was a receiver. But why? And how come I have no memory of it from before?

After thinking about it since yesterday, I can vaguely recall a possible scenario – not long before the pandemic – of where it possibly came from and why. Just vaguely. It may also be possible that the receiver has been there the entire time I’ve used that computer (dating back to the summer of 2013). I may never know.

Despite triggering my curiosity, I realize the how and why that receiver got there doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I do appreciate that fact that it was my memory failure that resulted in an unintended ruse on myself – just a day shy of April Fools.

What I am thankful for is that I had unplugged that mystery receiver before unlocking my computer as opposed to after. If not, I would have left yesterday unaware how important that little device was, while creating a scenario where I would have returned to the office weeks or months later to a broken mouse with no idea as to why. After that amount of time, it’s likely I would have forgotten about that receiver all over again.

While looking for a new mouse.

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